If any of you didn’t know by now, I’m a vegetarian/vegan. I say /vegan because I could never give up desserts, so I still eat dairy when it is cooked into dessert or chocolate, but I no longer eat plain eggs, plain milk, fish, etc. I went vegetarian in 5th grade, and vegan(ish) in 7th. Now, I am a senior in high school, and still going strong. Here are some of the books that helped reinforce my eating habits over that time.
1. Eat This, Not That
Many of you are probably thinking, what does this book have to do with being a vegetarian? The answer: not much. But, although I’ve never actually purchased this book, when I was a little kid, it was the first source outside of my parents to show me that not all food was good for you. I would run around with it in the grocery store quizzing my mom whenever she picked something up, only to set the book back down right before the register. When I flipped through the pages and saw the calorie counts for different foods, to be honest I was shocked. I’m willing to bet that if you went through and found some of the things you eat regularly (especially in the fast food edition) it would make you question your eating choices, and change it up a little in the future.
2. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
If you aren’t that interested in science, I recommend the Young Reader’s Edition. I have read both, and can say that the YA version was much more enjoyable, which in the regular I was bored by long chapters about Carbon and other scientific information I didn’t really care about. But, that being said, the book is amazing as far as its outlook on the natural world, and eating right in it. One of my favorite quotes in this book is: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”. I think this is really important in the world of TV dinners and meals in a freezer. Also, Pollan visits many different meat farms, and it gives you a full perspective as to exactly how your meat gets from the farm (which, by the way, is gross) to your plate.
3. Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer
If you are looking for a more story-like telling, filled with clever anecdotes and a fast plotline, this is the book for you. It has a very anti-meat eating stance, but I think that it is important to read, because you should be aware of what you are putting into your mouth. Ignorance is not Bliss. Foer does a superior job of cataloging the atrocities in eating animals, and although I didn’t love the way he did it, I read it with a group of 10 other people and they all thought it was amazing, so clearly I am outnumbered. For me, there were too many “funny” side notes that weren’t funny, but I guess they humored others. And, coincidentally, my favorite quote of all times is from this book: “To do nothing is to do something”. So remember, you can’t just ignore the facts and think that it is okay. Every time you block it out, you are making a conscious decision to do something. The book goes into more detail on that, and I think that it is a really powerful concept.
4. The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone and Victoria Pearson
This book is a dual cookbook and informative piece. Silverstone, an actress, is vegan, and in the beginning of the book she shared why she believes that it is important to be. Then, it is followed by many DELICIOUS recipes that you can enjoy, whether or not you eat meat. I think this book is really helpful because it does provide the recipes to start your new diet off right.
I know there are probably people out there who don’t care about this, and are semi-annoyed by seeing it pop up on their computer screen. I realize that the vegetarian diet might not be for everyone, because, frankly, not everyone cares about what they are putting in their bodies or doing for the world. But I urge you to pick at least one of the last three books and give it a try.
What other diet/vegetarian books have you read that you enjoyed and would recommend to others? Why/why not are you vegetarian?